August 26, 2010


Have you ever noticed how the right people come into your life at the exact moment you need them most? When my mom moved into my home she had to move her healthcare to Princess Margaret Hospital. She learned that there was a pilot project going on that she could participate in. The hospital's Palliative Care Unit was examining the effects of being connected with palliative patients from their first point of entry into PMH. Traditionally a patient would only be linked with the Palliative team when all of their treatment options had been exhausted.

Not one to pass up a new opportunity, my mom joined the project. In doing so we met Dr. John Bryson...or Dr. John (as my mom would say). Dr. John was the perfect connection for mom. He's intelligent, likes travelling, LOVES reading, likes new technology, and listens to CBC radio! Really a better match could not be made. My mom instantly felt comfortable with him and trusted him. Their appointments were more like two old friends sitting chatting at the coffee shop, then doctor-patient check-ups.

I remember my mom always trying to persuade Dr. John to read Linwood Barklay's novels. He was the latest author my mom had caught on to, and she felt Dr. John would really enjoy his work. Being the "techie" that he was, Dr. John had an ebook and hadn't download (or uploaded...whatever you say) Barklay's novels yet. In the end I think he finally did get to those books...and did enjoy them.

So, when I was looking at which novel would be next on my "to do" list I reached for the Linwood Barklay pocketbook "No Time For Goodbye".

This novel begins with a teenage girl, Cynthia, waking up one morning to find her entire family has vanished. The novel flips to 25 years later. We catch up with Cynthia and discover the long term repercussions of this disappearance. When renewed media attention shines a light on the case, she is swept up in the mystery of her family's fate all over again.

Spoiler Alert!!

The novel ends with Cynthia's discovery of a lost letter her mom had written and intended for her to find twenty-five years earlier. The note had gone missing with her mother. The note ended as follows...

"Someday, maybe you'll think you feel someone looking over your shoulder, and you'll look around and no one's there. That'll be me. Watching out for you, watching you make me so very, very proud. Your whole life, kiddo. I will always be with you. Love, Mom"

Are you kidding me. My mom totally used to call me "kiddo"! To say the least at the end of this novel tears were rolling down my cheeks.

When I finished the book I realized that my mother's death felt like a disappearance. In a way I identified with the main character who woke up one morning and found her life completely changed...pieces missing. When I woke up the morning after my mom died I felt the same way. While I know she is never coming back...most days I tell myself she's just "gone away" and might come home again. It is hard to believe that a person who existed, contributed, had a place in the world could simply be gone? It doesn't seem possible to me. She must be out there somewhere. Her energy is still out there.

I look for here in crowds. Sometimes I really think I see her. Other times I see women who remind me of her...make me wish for what she could have been. I'll keep looking for her and reading her books...finding little pieces of her in their pages.


  1. Hi Jennifer...just checking out your pics on facebook and your adorable little girls..
    And I realized I hadn't been to your blog of late..
    I was so excited to learn that your Mom read Linwood Barclay. I have read a couple of his books and look forward to reading more, expecially the one you mentioned in this blog entry.
    Jen, when I read what you wrote about your Mom and seeing her in other people and thinking that she has just gone away and will return, that is how I have felt ever since my Mom died in 1992. Once again thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your thoughts and feelings with everyone who follows your wonderful blog.
    I look with anticipation to future entrees.
    Take care..

  2. Your words touched me deeply Jen, the relationship you had with your mom was a special gift for both of you and so very rare. Of course her energy is still around, I feel it too.

    Keep writing, love, Hélène

    P.S. Signs are there too. A book, a bird, a song. They sustain